Disneyland just announced major news about the closure of the popular nighttime show, Fantasmic! which has been closed since earlier this year when the dragon Maleficent figure caught on fire.
Previously Disney had stated that the show would be closed all summer through at least labor day. This earlier announcement led to the beginnings of speculation that the show would be retooled in some way with new scenes. Some even suggested that the new show scenes that were previously added to the Fantasmic! show at Walt Disney World could be added late last year could be added to the Disneyland version of the show.
Though they didn’t address those rumors, Disney did provide a new update about the return of the show. The information was released late in the evening on Tuesday night through an official Disneyland spokesperson rather than through Disney’s social media channels.
When Will Fantasmic! Return to Disneyland?
Disney has announced that Fantasmic! will not return to the Rivers of America at Disneyland until spring 2024. When the show does return it will not feature the Maleficent dragon figure that was the show piece that caught on fire earlier this year that led to the closure. Disney teased that the show will feature “exciting new magic” when it returns.
The notification from Disney clearly stated that the figure would not be featured “at that time” from which we can infer that the dragon could still be planned to be brought back into the show in some future capacity. When the show does return, it will feature new special effects and a thrilling new battle scene between Sorcerer Mickey and Maleficent. This may just be the “B” mode version of the show which has run when the dragon has not functioned properly or been taken out of the show for planned maintenance.
At this time Disney has not yet stated whether the show will include changes to the scenes in the show. The show was most recently upgraded in 2017 when new show scenes featuring Lion King, Aladdin, Pirates of the Caribbean, and other popular intellectual property were added. During this extended closure I would not be surprised to see Disney add additional new characters and stories from fan-favorite films. I really do hope that they bring the dragon back in some capacity as the sheer scale and power of the figure really adds a sense of grandeur to the entire show.
A Disneyland official shared: “Our goal is to always deliver the best possible show for our guests. With that in mind, we are planning the return of “Fantasmic!” with exciting new magic in spring 2024. As teams continue work on the show, we have launched nightly entertainment on the Rivers of America this summer and we are working on even more exciting entertainment offerings for our guests later this year.”
I am a bit surprised that the show is going to be delayed for this long through a couple of very busy seasons. We know that Disney would have prioritized getting the show back up and running if it was possible to do so. As we share below, Disney is still working on other alternative entertainment for the Rivers of America.
A quick note on the peculiarities of this announcement… This is news that would typically be announced as a “take out the trash” news dump Friday so that all of the press would not have the time to cover it before the weekend and we would have forgotten it by Monday. Announcing it on a Tuesday feels off unless there is some reason that they need to have the news out now or there’s some other big Disney story coming tomorrow that will completely put this announcement in the rearview mirror. We will see! Expect to see some reason revealed why this news came out Tuesday night instead of this Friday. It could be as simple as Disney having to tell their Cast Members about the extended closure due to union contracts or something as big as Disneyland ticket price increases which we also just wrote about.
What is replacing Fantasmic! during the closure?
As was previously announced, Disneyland is featuring new nighttime entertainment along the Rivers of America to entertain guests.
Queenie and the Jambalaya Jazz Band is performing favorite Disney songs and high-energy tunes on a New Orleans-themed themed raft. The sets are 15 minutes and run throughout the evening. It really is nice to have live jazz floating through the air. In general we should recognize Disneyland for the great live entertainment that feels to be continuous throughout the parks. Everywhere you look there’s music or a character. I don’t think I walked down Main Street on a recent trip without some live music playing.
A new experience will also be featured on the Rivers of America, starting September 29, 2023. “The Heartbeat of New Orleans—A Living Mural” will feature a jazz score and projections over the Rivers of America between the Queenie and the Jambalaya Jazz Band sets each evening, telling the story of a mischievous frog from the bayou who explores New Orleans after he is lured by the music of jazz in the distance.
“The Heartbeat of New Orleans—A Living Mural” will feature the original artwork of Disney Live Entertainment graphic designer Marcella “Marci” Swett. “The Heartbeat of New Orleans—A Living Mural” and Queenie and the Jambalaya Jazz Band will run on select nights during fall and nightly during the holiday season.
After the holiday season comes to a close, we will see what Disneyland has in store for the period of January to Spring of 2024 before the nighttime spectacular reopens.
Disney has previously populated the river with popular characters from Star Wars during the after-hours Star Wars Nites. What if Disney put on a series on the river featuring bands from across their different films? Cantina Band from Star Wars, The Muppets, Louis and Tiana from Princess and the Frog, and any other musical Disney characters that could fit with the raft music theme. Please comment below. What would you like to see replace Fantasmic! on the Rivers of America before it reopens?
What is happening to the Fantasmic! Cast Members?
Part of what separates Fantasmic! apart from its cousin nighttime spectacular, World of Color, in Disney California Adventure are the dozens (some sources say over 50) performers who bring the characters and set pieces to life. Their emotion sets the spectacular apart.
Disney has stated that impacted performers and support Cast have been notified of the extended downtime. Disney is working to schedule and cross-train those Cast Members impacted.
Planning a Disneyland Vacation?
Make sure to join our FREE Mickey Visit newsletter which over 100k readers receive with the latest discounts, news, and tips. It is essential for planning your trip.
Disclosure: We have used all the products recommended on Mickey Visit. We may receive compensation when you click on links to some products featured.